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By the mere word race, do we worsen the problem?

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PoetryIsLife
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0 posted 03-22-2002 10:26 PM       View Profile for PoetryIsLife   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for PoetryIsLife



I was pondering recently, and a thought came to me...

by merely having the word race, don't we worsen the problem of racism? Should we not even HAVE the race, thus, the differences in the COLOR of our skin wouldn't even come to our attention? What am I trying to say....

*thinks*

It seems to me that by merely even noticing differences in color of skin, merely another physical characteristic, we further the being of racism. We may not be racist, but the only way for it to disapear is for it be nonexistent in our minds.

~ Titus

"My body is merely the canvas of my soul."
         ~ The Night Owl

Allan Riverwood
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1 posted 03-22-2002 10:37 PM       View Profile for Allan Riverwood   Email Allan Riverwood   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Allan Riverwood

I agree with you almost completely.  

Racism, since it is a concept, can't be eliminated by simply telling people not to do it.  Either way, people will practice the belief if it exists to be practiced.  

If you keep bringing it up, more people will see it as a choice of action, and therefore more people will practice it even if told not to.  

So the only way to abolish racism is to destroy it as a concept, and halt any use of the term race, or any reference to past events of racism.  While this is almost impossible to do, eventually it might be a possibility.  

It's all similar to one of the concepts discussed in George Orwell's "1984":  If people lack a word for something, they lack the ability to conciously experience it.

All images begin in mirrors and end inside our subconsious.
~Genesis P-Orridge, "Thee Reversal of Fate"

PoetryIsLife
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2 posted 03-22-2002 10:50 PM       View Profile for PoetryIsLife   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for PoetryIsLife

"So the only way to abolish racism is to destroy it as a concept, and halt any use of the term race, or any reference to past events of racism.  While this is almost impossible to do, eventually it might be a possibility."  

Exactly.

~ Titus

"My body is merely the canvas of my soul."
         ~ The Night Owl

Ron
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3 posted 03-22-2002 11:53 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

Discrimination isn't limited to racism, guys. You ready to get rid of gender, too?
Brad
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4 posted 03-23-2002 12:37 AM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Uh, are you sure you're not confusing two very different theories of language.

1. Language represents reality.

2. Language determines the way we see reality.

The two really can't mix. Why do you want to change what we see anyway?

Don't deny difference, celebrate it. Don't make race disappear, explode it into an infinite gradation.

  
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5 posted 03-23-2002 12:44 AM       View Profile for Allan Riverwood   Email Allan Riverwood   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Allan Riverwood

quote:
Don't deny difference, celebrate it.


How can you celebrate something, without glorifying it?  And how can you glorify something without placing it above others?

Once we say that we have a right to "celebrate" our difference in race, as trivial as race may be, we inevitably are saying that race does make a difference.  Which, in turn, promotes racism itself.

Celebration of your race isn't much better than racism itself.  It's just the other side of the race-makes-me-different-somehow coin.

Sure, race and culture are often linked, but they are not the same thing.  Now, I admit there is logic behind celebration of cultures.  And yes, I also admit that there is logic behind discrimination against cultures, as well, because cultures are lifestyles that have factors we can consider in deciding our view of a people.  

Race and culture are different.  Celebrate culture all you want, but don't celebrate race unless you like to promote racism.

[This message has been edited by Allan Riverwood (03-23-2002 12:45 AM).]

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6 posted 03-23-2002 12:47 AM       View Profile for Allan Riverwood   Email Allan Riverwood   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Allan Riverwood

Ron:

There's more logic to sexism than there is to racism.  I personally don't agree with any sexist notions myself, but males and females are both culturally and biologically very different.  

Sexism strikes me as stupid, but gender is something that has a significant effect on a person's development and personality.
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7 posted 03-23-2002 01:16 AM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

Ever seen a turtle, Allan? Can YOU tell the gender of one just by looking? If an alien landed on Earth, are you sure "it" could tell men from women? The truth is, on a larger scale, there is virtually no difference between male and female humans. The only reason you think otherwise is because you happen to have a few hormones that magnify those small differences in your mind.

I think you're missing the point, Allan, the same point Brad and I were both making in very different ways. If you can appreciate the minor differences that exist between men and women, you can just as well appreciate the minor differences between races. It is, after all, those differences that make life interesting!  

That does NOT mean glorifying one above the other. I like women. Doesn't mean I want to be a woman.
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8 posted 03-23-2002 01:23 AM       View Profile for PoetryIsLife   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for PoetryIsLife

Well put Ron.

But are not thsoe differences very different?

Between races, it is merely skin.

Between sexes, it is a whole lot more.... physicaly, yes, mental, yes, roles, yes. I could go on. Those differences have more of an impact on our lifes and require more care to deal with. And they create different things which pull us to them, male or female. Skin color does not.

~ Titus

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9 posted 03-23-2002 01:29 AM       View Profile for Allan Riverwood   Email Allan Riverwood   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Allan Riverwood

Ron... I do think that women and men should be treated equally in all respects.  I stated that clearly.

However, human men and women are extremely different, by biological and cultural means.  I think you're downplaying it by saying there are only "minor" differences.

If a black person and a white person were raised in the same environment, under normal and similar circumstances I'm willing to believe they'd turn out pretty much the same.  The differences would be cultural, perhaps... the black person might act slightly differently based on media portrayals of black culture.  

There is a huge difference between men and women, compared to the difference between races.  Go into an elementary school, for example, and I'm willing to bet the cliques are more based on gender than they are on race, correct?  It's because we do have different biological and cultural values, Ron.

Have you ever heard of estrogen and testosterone, Ron?  It alters more than just our sexual drives, you know.  And the cultural differences between men and women are present in pretty much all world cultures.  

The reason for the global magnitude of cultural difference between men and women is obviously that men and women coexist in all cultures worldwide, whereas people of different races don't necessarily coexist in all places.  Since the beginning of the species, men and women have had different roles.  It even exists in the animal kingdom, if you want to take your example of a turtle.  

Monitor their behavior, Ron.  It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that the roles of the male and the female are much different, perhaps not visually (aren't visual differences what we're trying to devalue, anyways?), but definitely by behavior and role.

Women and men are different, Ron.  Far more different than blacks and whites are.  

They deserve to be treated equally, sure.  But there is still reasonable cause for the belief that one gender is superior to the other.  

Because they are different.  Whether one is better than the other depends on an individual's values.
PoetryIsLife
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10 posted 03-23-2002 01:40 AM       View Profile for PoetryIsLife   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for PoetryIsLife

Well... again, well put.

*waits for responses*

~ Titus

"My body is merely the canvas of my soul."
         ~ The Night Owl

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11 posted 03-23-2002 01:45 AM       View Profile for Skyfire   Email Skyfire   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Skyfire

Aw, Ron, why don't you wanna be a woman? Aside from all the mood swings and cravings for chocolate and chips....

Anyway, Ti, I... think that even if we didnt' use the word "race" there'd still be a large amount of racism. I mean, even if we used the word "culture" that would probably become a problem word as well. I don't know if I made any sense, but that's just my thought on this.
Ron
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12 posted 03-23-2002 02:24 AM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

I wouldn't want to be a woman, Skyfire, because I wouldn't want to have to put up with me.

Allan, most of the differences you cite between men and women ARE cultural differences, not biological ones. The roles we play are shaped by society, not hormones. Except for reproduction functions, there is nothing one gender can do that the other gender can't do just as well. Again, the only reason you "perceive" greater differences is because that perception is built into your system. Do you recognize the same large degree of difference in dogs?

But we're really getting off the original topic. My point was that we can NOT ignore gender, because it's very much a reflection of reality. Some people emphasize the differences and decide one is better than the other. Discrimination. Others emphasize the differences and decide both are better BECAUSE of the differences. One without the other would be boring. And, uh, short-lived.

My point was that getting rid of the words centering on race wouldn't eliminate the differences, any more than getting rid of the words for brunette and blonde would eliminate differences in hair color. The differences exist. But it's not the differences that cause discrimination. It's our reaction to the differences.
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13 posted 03-23-2002 03:22 AM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

"aren't visual differences what we're trying to devalue, anyways?"

I don't want to do this. I like visual differences.

Getting rid of the concept of race doesn't fix the problem anyway. Japan still has the burakumin and Korea still has regionalism.

Besides, isn't it important that genetic cluster groups (race) are important determinations for medical reasons (sickle cell anemia, the inability to metabolize alcohol, no immunity to small pox etc.).

No, we don't want to get rid of race, we want to get rid of stupid connections.

It's just as silly to say that blondes can't drive BECAUSE their blonde as it is to say that a person can be prime minister because he follows cricket BECAUSE he follows cricket.  
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14 posted 03-23-2002 09:25 AM       View Profile for Allan Riverwood   Email Allan Riverwood   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Allan Riverwood

Ron:

Those differences are cultural, yes.  Why is that so significant?  They're still differences, very common differences, and are still logical reasons for someone to discriminate against a certain gender.  

Brad:

We could still describe different races, we  just wouldn't have the term "race" to distinguish them as groups of people.  To use your example, we could do without the words "blonde" and "brunette."  Instead we'd just have to say "people with blonde hair" and "people with brown hair."  Don't you think that the presence of the word "people" is important here?  If we think of them as people before we think of them by their difference, we'd be more likely to treat them as people, instead of as their difference.

We would still know that races exist, we just wouldn't have terms that describe them so importantly.
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15 posted 03-23-2002 10:35 AM       View Profile for hush   Email hush   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for hush

"It's all similar to one of the concepts discussed in George Orwell's "1984":  If people lack a word for something, they lack the ability to conciously experience it."

Hmmm. I see.

So, are you saying that the government should seek to eliminate the word "race" from our vocabulary? That the governemnt should limit the horizons that we can think on? Hate to break this to you, but if you live in the U.S. (as many of us do) we live in a country that protects our right to free thought, free speech. I have the right to be racist if I so choose... in fact, our government still promotes it in some forms. My boyfriend signed up for the Marines recently, and his recruiting officer told him they have a video game where Arabs jump out of holes in the desert and you have to shoot them. This isn't just the attitude of an individual, but of an entire sect of a national service, our military.

You want a government to limit your thought? You're actually promoting an Orwellian dystopia, or aspects thereof? That's comepletely ridiculous....

Besides, do you really think if we eliminated the word race, it would cahnge the differences we have? Would we stop teaching about the enslavement of the African-Americans, the Japanese internment camps, the smallpox that killed most of the Indians and the reservations that restrict the rest? It's impossible to stop racism, either as discrimination or pride in one's race (I don't really see the problem with being proud of one's race anyway... it doesn't necessarily mean you think your better than another race. I am proud to be a woman, but I don't think I'm any better than men.)

Besides the "people with (insert color)(insert feature)" idea is really just one of semantics. Are we going to say "people who believe in Christ" instead of Christians? "People who voted for G.W." instead of republicans? (LOL, I think the former in that case has more negative connotations that the latter!) I mean, it's simply a drawn out way of saying exactly the same thing.

"Love is a piano
dropped from a four story window
and you were in the wrong place
at the wrong time." -Ani DiFranco

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16 posted 03-23-2002 10:44 AM       View Profile for Allan Riverwood   Email Allan Riverwood   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Allan Riverwood

quote:
Besides the "people with (insert color)(insert feature)" idea is really just one of semantics.


I agree completely.  But look at it this way...

If this were utilized, as it already is with many features (eyes for example), we wouldn't be able to say something such as "I am a blonde" or "she is a blonde."  Instead, you would say "I have blonde hair," or "she has blonde hair."  It becomes a statement about a person, instead of a classification.  Think it'd be easy to discriminate against people who have specific characteristics, if we don't normally categorize them as such?

When was the last time you saw discrimination by eye colour?  In your everyday life, I mean.  It doesn't happen often.  Maybe in World War II, but seriously... it doesn't happen all that often in everyday life.

Oh and, your example of "Christian" being replaced with "people who believe in Christ" is invalid... I'm only discussing physical differences in people.  

Discrimination by religion actually has a lot of rationality behind it.  Belief system is a characteristic of a person that is profoundly descriptive of them.  Assuming everyone has a general idea of what their religion means, there's nothing wrong with condemning a person because of their belief system.  

Any fundamentalist will tell you that God does it all the time.  
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17 posted 03-23-2002 10:54 AM       View Profile for Poet deVine   Email Poet deVine   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Poet deVine

I was raised in a very small town during the 50's and 60's. There were exactly three black families in this town. I went to school with those kids. Hung out with them, danced with them at school dances. Went to parties with them, even had 'sleep overs' with them. To me, they were just people of a different 'hue'.

What if for the next few generations, we intermarried? What if a thousand years from now, there was only one 'hue'....maybe a dark golden tan color? How boring!

I don't think you can eliminate racism until you eliminate prejudice - ALL prejudice. We should not judge any man/woman/child on ANY part of them - intelligence, sex, color, religion.

And Allen, this quote:
quote:

But there is still reasonable cause for the belief that one gender is superior to the other.  



I hope you don't believe that.
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18 posted 03-23-2002 11:01 AM       View Profile for Krawdad   Email Krawdad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Krawdad

Do we really all want to be the same?
Let's not forget the bigger picture, the evolutionary function in this.  When all races have blended into one, the evolution of the human will have, in large part, ceased.  With no isolation of groups of organisms apart from the whole, the changes that might occur, good or bad, are unlikely to succeed.  The small genetic changes that are the basis of a species' future would be swamped.  In this sense, races are indeed different (diverse, if you will) and it would appear, necessary.  
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19 posted 03-23-2002 11:27 AM       View Profile for Allan Riverwood   Email Allan Riverwood   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Allan Riverwood

quote:
Let's not forget the bigger picture, the evolutionary function in this.  When all races have blended into one, the evolution of the human will have, in large part, ceased.


With the way communications are working nowadays, world cultures are becoming progressively more similar to one another.  Do we really need any more biological growth?  Do you think one race will grow wings, and the others will grow gills, or something?  Humanity thrives on its intelligence.  The only things that remain to evolve, and actually serve some applicable purpose, are either our minds or our technology.

Humanity looks pretty good as it is, and last time I checked, differences within cultures outweighed differences between cultures.
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20 posted 03-23-2002 11:33 AM       View Profile for Allan Riverwood   Email Allan Riverwood   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Allan Riverwood

PDV:

As I said above, it all depends on someone's values.  Because males and females differ, whatever traits you consider to be deciding traits in "superiority" are what will decide which gender you favour, if you favour one over the other.

If I believed that physical strength alone makes one superior, I'd conclude that males are superior to females.  If I believed that high empathy levels alone make one superior, I'd conclude that females are superior to males.

Again, as I said above, I don't personally agree that one gender is superior.  You're taking my statement the wrong way, obviously...

I didn't say that sexism is logical.  I merely said that sexism is capable of having logical basis.

[This message has been edited by Allan Riverwood (03-23-2002 11:34 AM).]

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21 posted 03-23-2002 12:10 PM       View Profile for Opeth   Email Opeth   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Opeth

PoetryIsLife said,

"Between races, it is merely skin.


- That statement is mired in naivity.
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22 posted 03-23-2002 12:28 PM       View Profile for Poet deVine   Email Poet deVine   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Poet deVine

Allen, I bet I can show you a few men whose physical strength is not equal to some women's! But collectively, why should one sex be considered superior? Why should ANYONE be considered superior for any reason?

Why do we generalize? A race of people or a whole gender? There are exceptions to every argument anyone makes here...
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23 posted 03-23-2002 12:29 PM       View Profile for Allan Riverwood   Email Allan Riverwood   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Allan Riverwood

Opeth

Instead of making simple observations, why not justify them as well?  You'll sound a lot more credible, and a lot less like a peanut gallery.

Discuss your own points a little, instead of just taking shots at someone's naivety.
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24 posted 03-23-2002 12:31 PM       View Profile for Allan Riverwood   Email Allan Riverwood   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Allan Riverwood

quote:
Allen, I bet I can show you a few men whose physical strength is not equal to some women's!


How often do you read my name without being able to spell it right?       

Anyways, the fact remains that men are genetically predisposed to be stronger than women.  It requires less work for a man to become stronger, and on average, men are physically stronger than women.  It's built into our biological composure.  Men have an entire chromosome in difference from women, and it's not all reproductive, by any means.

[This message has been edited by Allan Riverwood (03-23-2002 12:32 PM).]

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